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Home > News > Report

Bihar opposition calls for bandh on January 25

Anand Mohan Sahay in Patna | January 20, 2008 19:42 IST

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Judicial probe ordered into police firing deaths in Kahalgaon

After the killing of four people in police firing in Kahalgaon town in Bihar's Bhagalpur district during a protest for adequate power supply, opposition parties have called for a Bihar bandh on January 25.

Tension still runs high in Kahalgaon town for third consecutive day with a group of angry people setting ablaze a vehicle of Central Indian Security Force in Kahalgaon on Sunday. Some local people threatened to launch a fresh stir on Monday.

Opposition parties led by the Rashtriya Janata Dal, Congress, Left Parties and Nationalist Congress Party decided to intensify their protest.

"All opposition parties have joined hands to expose the state government led by Nitish Kumar's police raj," RJD spokesperson Shayam Rajak said after a meeting of the leaders of opposition parties in Patna on Sunday.

Congress leader Premchand Mishra said the Nitish Kumar government is killing people for demanding adequate power supply.

"We will stage protest a on January 23 at all the district headquarters followed by a torchlight protest on January 24 and Bihar bandh on January 25 to expose the Nitish Kumar government's highhandedness against the people" Mishra said.

RJD workers and leaders across state observed a black day on Sunday and took out protest marches against the killing of four people in Kahalgaon.

Sensing more trouble, the state government has ordered a judicial probe into the killings.

Nitish Kumar told newspersons on Sunday that he will request Patna high court for a sitting judge to probe the incident and assured that the government will take stern action against guilty officials.

RJD supremo and Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav described the judicial probe order as an eyewash by the state government as nothing would come out of it.

"First of all, the state government should lodge criminal cases against the police officials responsaible for the firing. Only thereafter a judicial probe should have been ordered," Lalu said.

The state government has announced compensation of Rs 1 lakh to the families of the victims and has transferred four officials, including the officer in charge of the Kahalgaon police station, the deputy superintendent and SDO.

Hundreds had gathered outside the National Thermal Power [Get Quote] Corp plant in Kahalgaon on Friday to protest an acute power shortage when the police opened fire on the crowd, killing three people.

Hundreds of people once again took to the streets on Saturday to protest Friday's killings. The angry mob set ablaze a vehicle, blocked roads and pelted stones at policemen deployed in the town to control the situation. The police opened fire in retaliation, killing one person, while another was injured seriously.

Acute power shortages have sparked protests in many parts of the state. According to energy department officials, at present, the state has a requirement of 1,500-1,600 MW of power. Though the Central allocation is 1,170 MW, the state has so far received only 700-800 MW from the Central pool, officials said.

Faced with a severe power crisis and violent protests, Bihar's Energy Minister Bijendra Prasad Yadav sent a strongly worded letter to the Central government alleging discrimination against the states not ruled by the United Progressive Alliance.